As healthcare professionals and essential services workers emerge as true heroes in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, there's a dark side of this story too. As per media reports from earlier today, two women doctors from the government-run Safdarjung Hospital in South Delhi allegedly assaulted after then stepped out to buy some groceries on Wednesday evening. The doctors were immediately confronted by a man as soon as they entered the market near Gautam Nagar and as he repudiated them for not self-isolating and 'spreading' the virus. When the doctors informed the locals about the harassment, instead of helping them, the crowd instead ended up attacking them. By the police arrived at the scene, the accused had already fled and the locals almost unanimously refused to divulge his details.
However, these are not recent developments in India and all of it started way last month in March with the news of doctors and medical workers being evicted from their homes and ostracised from their communities. Some of them were left with no options but to take refuge in hospital bathrooms to spend nights in owing to the lack of any shelter. While things kept worsening, doctors from AIIMS reached out to the government pleading for some assistance during the times of crisis. “Many doctors are stranded on the roads with all their luggage, nowhere to go, across the country,” read the plea raised by the doctors. Ironically, all of this transpired just a week after the entire nation had gathered on their balconies to applaud the contribution of these frontline workers in mitigating the pandemic.
Not too long after that, news of doctors being attacked in Indore went viral of social media. Some of the doctors also complained about being spat on by patients that they were trying to test and treat. After multiple reports of landlords asking healthcare professionals to vacate their homes and a general sense of discrimination prevailing against those at the frontlines of the coronavirus battle, the government has finally interfered into the matter. A set of guidelines has been released for the general public so as to put an end to the social stigma attached to certain professionals, communities, and even areas.
Titled “Addressing Social Stigma Associated with Covid-19,” the advisory features a list of dos and don’ts involving guidelines on appreciating those involved in essential services. “Sanitary workers and police are also doing selfless service and playing critical roles in addressing the challenge of COVID-19. They all deserve our support, praise and appreciation,” the advisory reads.
It is rather saddening that we need to be educated about valuing those who have literally placed their own lives on stake to fight this war for the rest of us. Currently, pictures and stories of healthcare workers' unyielding selflessness in the time of crisis are doing rounds all over the world. And somehow it is the very same healthcare heroes who face the most stigma and prejudice at the hands of those who are safe and healthy at home owing to the zealous efforts of these essential individuals.
Think of it this way: aren't we all taught to thank the shoulders who guard the country and fight for it in times of war? How is the current pandemic anything less than a war? Perhaps it is time we take cognizance of the efforts that the healthcare workers are putting by fighting this battle for all of us, tirelessly.
Recently, Indian Forest Services Officer Sudha Ramen also shared an image of a healthcare worker couple sharing a tender moment as they touch each other with their hazmat suits still on. "This picture of a couple who work day & night to fight COVID speaks volumes. They can touch each other only when they are in the protective gears," she wrote.
To all the Health care personnels across the globe.. Salutes and 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏 on— Sudha Ramen IFS 🇮🇳 (@SudhaRamenIFS) April 7, 2020
This picture of a couple who work day & night to fight COVID speaks volumes. They can touch each other only when they are in the protective gears. #COVIDWarriors #Inspiration pic.twitter.com/0knAjBJLXN
And here's yet another heart-wrenching story:
Read this while you complain about being stuck at home:
It was only a couple of weeks ago that a video of a healthcare professional breaking down because he couldn't touch his child after a tough day at work shook the world.
A Saudi doctor returns home from the hospital, tells his son to keep his distance, then breaks down from the strain. pic.twitter.com/0ER9rYktdT— Mike (@Doranimated) March 26, 2020
And perhaps we'll never be able to erase the image of healthcare workers with those haunting mask scars from our collective memories.
Nurses take off their face masks after a grueling shift in fight with novel #coronavirus, touching the hearts of millions on Chinese social media. Salute to these angels!#EverydayHero ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/BiO7E3PfGR— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) February 5, 2020
This is what you look like after wearing an N95 mask all day. We don’t have enough of anything. We need @SenSanders more than ever now. Help us help you. #SandersSisters #NursesForBernie pic.twitter.com/jfVKPct2cD— genithecrankynurse (@genithecrankyn1) March 19, 2020
Can you believe this bright, beautiful smile as it overshines all those scars?
After removing the mask, how doctor and nurse look.— Omar Faruk (@OmarMushfique) February 6, 2020
doctors have to use the mask for more than 12 hours to serve the corona virus patients.
Love and respect for all the great doctors who are always involved in the service of humanity.#corononavirus #CoronaOutbreak pic.twitter.com/iTAASzybCe
May we never forget the contribution that each one of these healthcare workers made, right from those who treated the patients to those who did the cleaning chores. This heart-warming image should help you:
Look at this video and decide if they don't deserve all the respect in the world for their service and perseverance in the trying times:
Would we all be as callous if someone from our family happened to be one of them?
They are literally putting everything at stake, EVERYTHING!
I was just checking in with my Doctor about my pneumonia and he is now hospitalized with the virus. Unbelievable- I hope he will be okay - healthcare workers really are risking everything for us #COVID19 #NYC #HealthcareHeroes— Roger Clark (@RogerClark41) April 8, 2020
Lastly, an important reminder!
As those on the frontlines of this taxing battle put everything at stake, can't we all do the bare minimum and respect them and acknowledge their efforts for the same?
Featured Image: Twitter